updated 6/22/2004 10:41:19 AM ET 2004-06-22T14:41:19

Guests: Bob Jensen, Bob Kohn, Bill McCollum, Jack Burkman, Carl Bernstein, Jerry Brown

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST:  Tonight‘s top headline:  Bill Clinton tells his side of the story, but his bio gets panned.  The “Real Deal,” what did “The New York Times” expect him to say? 

Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, where no passport is required and only common sense is allowed. 

The Clinton summer continues, as the former pres hits the airwaves to promote his memoirs, which hits bookshelves tomorrow.  But the early reviews are in and it may spell trouble for the 42nd president, as he tries to reshape his legacy. 

And filmmaker Michael Moore is in the middle of his media blitz promoting the Bush-bashing “Fahrenheit 9/11.”  He has made up interviews, sat on Iraqi prisoner abuse photos, and still insists he is a crusader for the truth. 

Plus, even more proof of ties between Iraq and al Qaeda at the highest levels of Saddam‘s regime.  So why does the media continue to downplay the connection?  We are going to get to the bottom of that tonight. 

ANNOUNCER:  From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all.  Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

SCARBOROUGH:  Welcome to our show.

You know, I have always believed that Americans should revere their former presidents, but Bill Clinton‘s P.R. machine is making that hard to do.  It‘s time for tonight‘s “Real Deal.” 

Now, in second grade, I started reading short biographies of U.S.  presidents.  I read John Kennedy‘s war exploits, about his race to the moon and his early death.  And I liked Kennedy because a book said he got bad grades in school.  This was a president that even a 7-year-old could relate to.  But there was no mention of Marilyn Monroe, sex scandals, or Vietnam assassination plots. 

Now, my interest in Kennedy led me to read books on Washington, Lincoln, and Roosevelt.  And my grandmom told me about how life was livable in rural Georgia during darkest days of the Great Depression because of FDR.  And I remember my poor friends who lived in trailer parks outside Meridian, Mississippi, leaving a pickup basketball game after school one day. 

They reappeared hours later wearing a clip-on tie that their mothers had obviously stuck on them, because that was the day that Independence, Missouri, buried Harry Truman.  My father stuck by Nixon until the bitter end.  And when I had children, I told them about the goodness in Jimmy Carter‘s heart, even if I believe he was the most overmatched president in the history of the White House. 

I am not exactly sure what I am going to tell my young daughter about Bill Clinton.  The 42nd president remains vexing as ever, blaming his behavior with Monica-gate on Ken Starr, on right-wing zealots, and now even his abusive stepfather.  Clinton‘s claims that he never let bin Laden slip out of his hands, that‘s simply false.  And the claim that being impeached was a badge of honor shows that Bill Clinton is still unwilling to accept personal responsibility for his personal failings. 

Sure, he still draws stars, like he is tonight at the New York Met.  But Bill Clinton could have been more than a star.  He could have been a great president, but he wasn‘t.  But you know what?  As one of the most gifted political minds of our time, I think the final chapter on Bill Clinton has yet to be written.  And this man still appears to have Jay Gatsby‘s riotous heart.

But here‘s hoping, one day, I can turn the page of a book over to Bill Clinton‘s picture and say to my daughter, Kate (ph), like everybody, Bill Clinton made some mistakes when he was president, but he learned from those mistakes and he grew up to be a great man, a great man.  Wouldn‘t that be a wonderful thing to say about Bill Clinton when it was his time to go home?  And that‘s tonight‘s “Real Deal.” 

Now, we have got an all-star panel here tonight.  And let‘s see if they can stop the Clinton myth-making in its tracks.  We‘ve got Bill McCollum.  He‘s a former Florida Republican congressman and an impeachment manager who is currently running for the United States Senate.  We have got veteran journalist Carl Bernstein, who is now a contributing editor for “Vanity Fair” and knows a thing or two about former presidents, and former California Governor and current Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown.

Gentlemen, I would like to thank all of you for being here.

And I want to begin with you, Carl Bernstein. 

Obviously, you have covered a lot of presidents in your time.  Tell me, what‘s your take on Bill Clinton‘s current P.R. tour?

CARL BERNSTEIN, AUTHOR/JOURNALIST:  Well, I haven‘t read the book. 

I think that this book represents a great opportunity to put a president and a presidency in perspective.  And so far, I think that we are not going to get that unless the Clinton haters are willing to be as thoughtful as you were, in fact, in your introduction.  I think we really have a responsibility here to look at what happened in this presidency, because, in many regards, it was a fabulously successful presidency. 

SCARBOROUGH:  In what way? 

BERNSTEIN:  Well, among other things, the budget, cutting the deficit that Republicans since Ike had said we needed to cut, getting a balanced budget, forcing some Middle Eastern peace negotiations that needed to be done, NAFTA, having a Republican Congress, and nonetheless, despite the votes against him, putting together piece by piece a really formidable education program, so that no kid in America can be forced not to go to college because of lack of opportunity. 

There‘s some real achievements in this presidency, not the least of which is the economic boom, the greatest economic boom in our history produced by a budget that every Republican voted against and that the vice president had to break the tie.  And, at the same time, we obviously have, as Clinton has written and talked about in the last few days, the personal failings of somebody.  And that too is part of the legacy.

But I liked what you said about someday maybe we are going to be able to look back and see a great man.  I think that he has got a long ways to go.  He is young.  And I think there‘s another aspect of this presidency that we haven‘t looked at.  And that is the truthfulness of the Clinton White House in terms of public policy.  Contrast that with the dishonesty of this White House, this president, and this vice president, and it‘s a very stark difference. 

I think you have to go back to Nixon to find the kind of routine public dishonesty that we are seeing out of this White House.  And whatever the personal dishonesty of Clinton was regarding Monica Lewinsky, on matters of public policy, there was honesty. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Bill McCollum, you were there.  You were part of the impeachment team.  Respond to all that you just heard from Carl Bernstein.  

BILL MCCOLLUM, FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN:  Well, first of all, I would like to say that with regard to the whole affair, the trial of the president, the impeachment trial, the real thing that struck me this past weekend was the idea that he called it a badge of honor to go through that trial. 

The reality is, the president committed the crime of lying under oath.  It‘s the same crime essentially that was committed by Martha Stewart she may get a year or two in prison for.  The reality is that this is a president who lost his license to practice law afterwards because of that. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, what you are talking about is, Arkansas disbarred him.  He quit the United States Supreme Court practice because U.S. Supreme Court was also about to ban him?

MCCOLLUM:  Exactly. 

And it never was about Monica Lewinsky.  It was always about lying under oath in a court of law.  Now, having said that, what I just heard Carl say about the legacy of the president otherwise, you remember.  You were there and observed some of this later on, Joe, but we had a contract with America.  When the Republicans took over the United States House of Representatives in 1994 and 1995, we had to fight like the dickens with the president to get welfare reform. 

It took two times passed before we could get him to finally sign the bill.  And much of the success that was just attributed to him I would suggest should be attributed to a Republican-majority Congress.  But the worst thing about this presidency, in my looking at it, was none of that.  It was the failure to recognize the problems of Osama bin Laden early on in his administration and the failure to deal with it. 

And when I went on the House Intelligence Committee in 1995, having a very bad intelligence director of the CIA and a very bad situation there that led to a lot of other problems, he didn‘t listen to warnings, for example, of my House Terrorism Task Force, Joe, when we talked in 1993 and 1994 about that. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, Bill, let me play you what Clinton had to say about Saddam and al Qaeda.  Listen to this. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM J. CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I think the Iraqis are better off with Saddam gone, if they can have a stable government.  There have been more terrorists move into Iraq in the aftermath of the conflict.  I still believe, as I always have, that the biggest terrorist threat by far is al Qaeda and the al Qaeda network. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, Bill McCollum, you warned the Clinton administration about bin Laden and al Qaeda years before 9/11.  And I remember specifically actually looking at some of your staff members and said, are these guys paranoid?  Like Vaughn Forrest would always talk about possible attacks in New York, in Washington, even talk about Disney world.

But did you ever get the impression back in ‘95, ‘96, ‘97, when you and Vaughn Forrest and other people were rooting this out, that Bill Clinton‘s main objective then was al Qaeda? 

MCCOLLUM:  No, never I did. 

In fact, we were publishing things.  Our Task Force on Terrorism was founded in 1989.  In 1993 and ‘94, and ‘95, we were publishing reports, very explicit, about Zawahiri, for example, in March of ‘94, who is the second in command in al Qaeda even today, being in Geneva, Switzerland, with money from Iran, setting up sleeper cells in the United States. 

(CROSSTALK)

MCCOLLUM:  We had a book out by Seffy Bodansky, the executive director of the task force, in 1993 called “Target America,” which described the possibility of flying planes into buildings and so forth.

And Bill Clinton‘s administration in those early years wasn‘t listening to what we had to say.  And even when I got on the Intelligence Committee, Joe, in 1995 and ‘96, we had people saying, we can‘t corroborate what you are saying.  In fact, of course, most of what we were saying was very right.  They just had an enormous intelligence failure and the president of the United States whose people weren‘t listening to the signs that were there. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Let me bring in Jerry Brown.

Now, Jerry Brown, obviously in 1992, you ran a campaign against Bill Clinton, had some fairly tough words for the then governor, talking about Whitewater, the first person to talk about Whitewater.  What‘s it like now 12 years later, listening to Bill Clinton looking back on his career and this book tour and this P.R. tour?  What are your thoughts? 

JERRY BROWN (D), MAYOR OF OAKLAND:  When you‘re facing 900 pages, even in just reading the descriptions of it, it‘s quite formidable.  And I did use some pretty hard words. 

I felt that Clinton was part of a group in the Democratic Party that was owned by special interests.  And now, 12 years later, because you have asked me that, I have seen the power of money, the power of the economic structures and how that relates to politics.  So, to some extent, I have more sympathy with the former president. 

In terms of the personal stuff, I can see why he took some pride in not giving up.  An impeachment must be a horrible psychological period of struggle and challenge and suffering.  So, from just a dramatic and a personal struggle, he showed a lot of guts, a lot of emotional fight. 

You can also say, though, he is the kind of a guy who gets himself in jams, and then he has developed some kind of pleasure or ability and skill to then get himself out of what he has already created. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, you know, Jerry, actually, I was just going to ask you about that, because when I was watching the interview on “60 Minutes,” I kept hearing him blame Ken Starr for making him lie under oath, for blaming the vast right-wing conspiracy, talking about his stepfather. 

You and I make mistakes, just like Bill Clinton makes mistakes, just like we all make mistakes.  But isn‘t it troubling, 12 years later, after you ran against him in ‘92, that this guy still doesn‘t just—he still doesn‘t get it?  Wouldn‘t you just say, yes, I screwed up here, here, here, and here?  And, as soon as he admits it, then everybody can start talking about policy, instead of his personal failings.

BROWN:  Well, I know it‘s a current psychological given that everybody has to be so damn candid, but any time you are talking about your sex life or something very intimate, and then you are putting it out into the 24-hour channels and the news media, it‘s never anything but rather awkward.

And I don‘t suppose anybody is completely honest.  I want to make this point.  Yes, I think there can be right-wing people agreeing to fight Clinton and bring him down.  There can also be Clinton doing stuff that contributes mightily to the outcome.  And then, more importantly, though, all this psychobabble, all this talking about feelings and this and that, from the point of view of the big picture of America, the issues really are about what is our role in the world, what can the president do about it, what did Clinton do about the economy?

Did what he do really make for all these jobs, or is there a lot of taking credit for what is the product of a complex of forces?  And I think, even listening earlier, it did sound partisan to me.  And a lot of how we read Clinton, it‘s almost like a Rorschach test.  It‘s what we bring.

SCARBOROUGH:  Exactly. 

BROWN:  And if you don‘t like preemptive war, well, you are not going to like Bush and you‘re going to be more favorable to Clinton.  If you don‘t like cutting taxes on the wealthiest, what we call marginal tax rates, then you are going to not like Bush; you are going to like Clinton, or the reverse.

So there‘s a very heavy partisan filter.  And how much is objective, I would say not a hell of a lot. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right. 

BROWN:  And what we learn about America, I would say not too much. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Jerry Brown, stay with us.  We are going to come back with you and our other two guests. 

And later, the elite media may be at it again, twisting the truth about the 9/11 Commission‘s report on the Iraq-al Qaeda link.  How could so many newspapers get it so wrong and then not correct their mistake?  We‘ll talk about that in a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Bill Clinton is live tonight at the New York Met at a book signing.  We are going to be taking you there with some video and continue talking to our guests when we return on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Bill Clinton is having an absolutely fabulous book party gala tonight at New York City‘s Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

Check out what a heckler across the street was holding.  I will tell you what.  It‘s not going to go away.  I don‘t have to read it.  They want me to read what it says.  I will let you read it by yourself. 

I want you to go back to Bill McCollum, Carl Bernstein and also Jerry Brown.

And, Carl, I want you to listen to what Bill Clinton had to say about his impeachment battle on “60 Minutes.” 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “60 MINUTES”)

CLINTON:  The whole battle was a badge of honor.  I don‘t see it as a great stain, because it was illegitimate.  On the day I die, I‘ll still be glad I fought him and I‘ll still be glad that I beat him.  And I‘ll still believe that it was a bogus, phony deal. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Carl Bernstein, a bogus, phony deal? 

If you or I had lied under oath, not only in a deposition, but also before a federal grand jury, we would be doing what Martha Stewart is going to be doing, and that is, go to jail. 

BERNSTEIN:  I think you have got to look at the whole interview.  First of all, what he said there I think is accurate, that he was glad he beat them, and he did beat him, and he should have beat him. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Was it a bogus, phony deal? 

BERNSTEIN:  It certainly was a bogus, phony deal.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Lying under oath at a federal grand jury? 

BERNSTEIN:  Let me finish, if I may.

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, answer that. 

BERNSTEIN:  He should not have lied under oath to a federal grand jury.  The circumstances were extraordinary. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Did that make it OK? 

BERNSTEIN:  No, there‘s nothing OK about what he did whatsoever. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Would you have gone to jail if you lied under a federal grand jury? 

BERNSTEIN:  Absolutely not, not under those circumstances.  Nobody would. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Oh, bull.  How can you say that, Carl? 

BERNSTEIN:  Under those circumstances, nobody would. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, what circumstances would allow you or me to lie under a federal—to a federal grand jury and not have a federal judge throw us in jail? 

BERNSTEIN:  Because I don‘t think it happens in that kind of case when you are talking about a marital thing that essentially relates to a marital dispute. 

SCARBOROUGH:  To sex?  It was a sexual harassment lawsuit. 

BERNSTEIN:  Let‘s go—Joe, let‘s go back and look at...

SCARBOROUGH:  No, this is critical.  Wait a second.  No. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  You said—it was a sexual harassment lawsuit.  If lying about sexual harassment is not relevant to a sexual harassment lawsuit, then that‘s like saying Ken Lay lying about accounting is not relevant to Enron. 

BERNSTEIN:  No.  It‘s not at all comparable to what you are saying about Ken Lay. 

What was this was about was Clinton did something that he knows he shouldn‘t have done, that he paid dearly for.  It was reckless.  It was irresponsible and should never have been under the purview of the federal prosecutor to begin with. 

And the idea this was the subject of impeachment, I think, in retrospect, we are going to look at with some real historical regret, because it‘s not what the impeachment process was meant for.  And, nonetheless, it disfigured his presidency.  I think, if you look at what he said in toto, particularly what you said at the beginning about blaming Ken Starr for Monica Lewinsky, he didn‘t.

He took responsibility for his own actions and then went on to talk about an irresponsible special prosecutor, which I think most people outside of some people on the Republican right—and I don‘t think this is just a partisan matter.  I think that most people on the federal judiciary would agree that Ken Starr was way out of line in his prosecution. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, you know, Bill McCollum, let me bring you in here, because, again, what Bill Clinton said last night was that he may have lied about this because Ken Starr was going after him the way he was. 

I want to read you what a new poll conducted by the Associated Press had to say.  It said, 41 percent of Americans have a favorable view of Bill Clinton, while more than twice of that have a favorable view of the late President Ronald Reagan.  Clinton‘s numbers are down nine full points since January.  Do you think those sort of tortured explanations may be hurting him in public standing with the polls, or are people just going to respond to anybody that gets out in front of the camera the way Bill Clinton is right now? 

MCCOLLUM:  Well, I think, first of all, that Bill Clinton has set a very poor example for young people by some of the statements he‘s been making in the last few days, making as light of some of this as he has. 

I think it was a serious matter for what he was impeached.  The violation of rule of law was at stake here, a very big principle of example.  Lying under oath, as you pointed out, in a court proceeding is a serious matter, no matter what the subject matter is.  And that very subject matter has been the subject of people going to prison. 

But I still think that the main thing that I find fault with him is in the failure for his administration for early on recognizing what has led to the problems we have today in an ever greater amount with regard to Osama bin Laden and the bad guys.  There is a book out that I think is more significantly frankly this year than the book that Bill Clinton is now publishing.

And it‘s called “Losing Bin Laden” by Richard Miniter, a former writer for “The Wall Street Journal,” in which he describes in that book precisely how the Clinton administration muffed it early on, how they didn‘t really understand the bombing at the first World Trade Center, how our House Task Force on Terrorism, the very first chapter of the book, revealed a lot of this information to the Clinton administration.

And then it went on and did not discover it.  And I think tonight, we are talking all about rehashing old things that probably a lot of people would rather not hear about again.  But the reality is that the real truth is that terrorism is a big deal today.  And it‘s a big problem.  And it‘s a bigger problem because Clinton failed early on to capture it. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Jerry Brown, when other people write history books about Bill Clinton 20, 30, 50 years from now, are they going to be talking about Monica?  Are they going to be talking about bin Laden?  Or are they going to be talking about that remarkable economy of the ‘90s? 

BROWN:  You know, I really don‘t know.  And I don‘t think anybody can know. 

It really depends on your frame of reference.  Let‘s just take this terrorism.  Look, Clinton missed the terrorism, but so did Bush.  And now he has put $150 billion fighting Iraq when the commission, the 9/11 Commission says there was no real connection between 9/11 and Iraq.  There‘s plenty of ways to critique this thing.  Bill Clinton was a man of great exuberance. 

He got himself into trouble.  He was rather insouciant about getting out of it and saying it‘s a badge of honor.  You can look at this thing from a human point of view.  Do men ever tell the truth about sex, at least when it‘s not what they are supposedly to be doing?  And you can see Clinton as a very human guy.  And that‘s one side. 

Then the other one is, where does this fit in the big American picture?  That, I think, it isn‘t clear right now.  But I would say Clinton, in tax responsibility and his focus on domestic issues, I think will stand very tall compared to the current administration. 

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, Jerry Brown, thanks a lot.  Thank you, Bill McCollum, Carl Bernstein and Jerry Brown.  I really enjoyed it. 

And I will tell you what.  I still say that Bill Clinton‘s best days may be in front of him.  Let‘s hope so, not only for his sake, but for America‘s sake. 

We are going to keep talking about this through the week.  We are going to be talking about Bill Clinton‘s first day of book sales tomorrow with Clinton biographer David Maraniss, former Clinton press secretary Dee Dee Myers, and also Bubba‘s longtime buddy Harry Thomason. 

And straight ahead, Michael Moore says he is standing by facts in his new documentary “Fahrenheit 9/11.”  Well, some say he better not stand too close, because his arguments could be built on a shaky foundation.  We are going to be explaining some of the shortcomings of Moore‘s latest work straight ahead. 

And then the Bush administration keeps saying that Iraq and al Qaeda were allies before 9/11, and the 9/11 Commission report backs that up.  So why do the headlines in “The New York Times” say just the opposite?  We‘re going to be debating that in a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Michael Moore‘s latest film is under attack.  Some say it‘s just not true.  We‘re going to be talking about that in a second. 

But, first, let‘s get the latest headlines from the MSNBC News Desk. 

(NEWS BREAK)

ANNOUNCER:  From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all.  Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.

SCARBOROUGH:  When you see that intro, I‘m wearing these same ugly glasses in that campaign speech.  Yes, I won the campaign.  Got like 78 percent, 79 percent. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  They‘re your lucky glasses. 

SCARBOROUGH:  They‘re my lucky glasses tonight, until I fix my ripped contacts. 

So bad news about Rowland, huh, John Rowland? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It‘s all about having what you want. 

SCARBOROUGH:  The thing is, if we have gotten to a point in America where a governor can‘t like take hot tubs from like public employees, what is happening? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It was a gift.

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  Exactly.  Exactly.  And shouldn‘t the governor of Connecticut, I mean, the guy works hard.  Doesn‘t he deserve a hot tub? 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Yes.  Does he give it back after he resigns?

SCARBOROUGH:  He better not.  That‘s a matter of principle.  You know what?  He should keep that hot tub.  And you know what?  He should keep it as a badge of honor.  That‘s what I say, just like Bill Clinton. 

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  Now, Michael Moore has been pitching his latest mockumentary around the talk show circuit.  He won‘t come here, but he‘s trying to drum up an audience for his anti-Bush screed, “Fahrenheit 9/11.”  Here he is with my hero, David Letterman, last night. 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN”)

MICHAEL MOORE, FILMMAKER/AUTHOR:  I am ready to debate any Republican, any right-winger any time of the day on this, and I will take them on. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, Michael, we have invited you to visit SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY this week.  We invited you earlier this month.  And we are waiting for your reply.  I want you to come on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  I will meet you any time, anyplace, anywhere, one hour.  We will go straight through.  We will talk about “Fahrenheit 9/11,” the claims you are making about that, the claims you are making about George Bush, the claims you are making about Iraq, the claims you are making about the bin Laden family. 

Heck, we‘ll even talk about the claims that you made in your last movie.  Whatever you want to do.  You name the time, the place.  We will be there.  I will bring Mike along.  He will have the camera.  Whatever you want, wherever you want, we will be there. 

Now, in the meantime, let‘s talk about Moore‘s “Fahrenheit 9/11.” 

MSNBC analyst Flavia Colgan and GOP strategist Jack Burkman are here. 

Welcome, both of you. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  And, Flavia, you know all the Hollywood types.  Why don‘t you tell, Michael, come on our show?  I am actually—I‘m not a right-winger.  I am a nice guy. 

And I want you, though—speaking of nice people, I want you, Flavia, to see more on “The Today Show” explaining to Katie Couric why he made “Fahrenheit 9/11.” 

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, “THE TODAY SHOW”) 

MOORE:  Because I have just not understand why, for four years, we have presented with one basic view of this administration, and we haven‘t heard the other side of the story.  We haven‘t seen the truth, at least what I think is the truth. 

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCARBOROUGH:  Haven‘t seen the truth?  Does this guy not read “The New York Times”?  I mean, he says we have only seen one side of the story, Flavia.  “The New York Times” has eviscerated Bush over the past year and a half. 

FLAVIA COLGAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  Well, first of all, that is a very nascent development, Joe. 

And I think that you are right on one thing.  Michael Moore really hasn‘t presented something entirely new.  We know that the president sat there for seven minutes after he was told that our country was under attack. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Is that bad?  What is he supposed to do, run out of the room with his arms in the air, screaming? 

(LAUGHTER)

COLGAN:  No, I think that he should do what many Governor Mark Schweiker, Ed Rendell, many politicians, Republicans and Democrats, I‘ve watched in crisis situations, get on the phone, call the FCC, call the people that are handling this and get more information.  I don‘t think he should be sitting there reading “Pet Goat” to a group of school children. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  For seven minutes.  Do you want him to get up right after and run out of the room, screaming, we have got to go, we have got to go?  There is something about remaining calm while your aides are telling you what to do.  We were under attack, so don‘t you sit there until the Secret Service says, OK, Mr. President, now go to this room?

(CROSSTALK)

COLGAN:  Oh, until his handlers tell him what to do. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  No, they are called Secret Service agents. 

COLGAN:  Yes, you are right.  He doesn‘t show much gravitas.  In this picture, as you‘ll see, right before he‘s telling the nation and the world that we are going to take a preemptive attack into Iraq, he‘s playing peekaboo with a makeup artist. 

And I think what Michael Moore does in this movie is show people in a very visceral and emotional way sort of the human story of the things we have heard about.  We have heard about the civilian deaths.  We have heard about the amputations.  We have heard about the many people that are coming back from Iraq alive, but still very troubled by their experience there.

And I think that he touches on this.  And let me tell you, there are two diseases eating away at the fabric of our societies right now, and they‘re nihilism and they‘re apathy.  And whether you like Michael Moore or not, and whether this is a frontline documentary or not, which I think he has been very clear on saying it isn‘t and that he‘s not fair and balanced, I think it begins to gets people excited about these issues, probing these issues, asking questions about this.  And that‘s very important.

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Jack, let me tell you what concerns me.  I‘ll tell you one of the things, as somebody that‘s been in office before. 

We went through the hell of Bill Clinton‘s impeachment.  It was awful for both sides.  It was awful Bill Clinton.  It was awful everybody.  But the hatred, the hatred and animosity that is surrounding politics right now, I think Michael Moore feeds right into it.  What about you? 

JACK BURKMAN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST:  Well, he is fueling it. 

I am surprised somebody as bright as Flavia would still be defending this guy.  I can‘t figure out if he‘s tragedy or farce.  First, I thought he was farce.  Now I think he‘s really tragic.  The thing about Michael Moore is, he represents what many on the left—many on the left envy him, because it‘s what they want to say and it‘s what they want to do, but they can‘t because they have to stick to this mantra, they‘re supporting and defending the troops, when they are not. 

But I will tell you something, Joe.  We may have missed a little bit of the point on Michael Moore.  He can write, say, and do what he wants, and, yes, he should come and debate you.  But you know what?  This guy has crossed the line, because he is now aiding and abetting the enemy.

SCARBOROUGH:  How?  How is he doing that?  How is he doing that, Jack?

(CROSSTALK)

BURKMAN:  Take a close look at his statements in Cannes. 

COLGAN:  Jack. 

BURKMAN:  And take a close look at the sum and substance of these films. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Give me specifics. 

BURKMAN:  He is encouraging Baathists to rise up.  And if you look at

this film, if you look at his statements closely that were made in Cannes,

he is encouraging people to rise up.  But

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on.  I want to stop you there. 

(CROSSTALK) 

SCARBOROUGH:  Hold on.  No, no, Flavia.  Hold on.  You had your talk. 

I am going to get back to you in a second. 

But, Jack, OK, let me talk about two things.  You said he is aiding and abetting an enemy.

BURKMAN:  Absolutely.

SCARBOROUGH:  Let‘s talk about two statements.  He made one statement where he said he didn‘t want the U.N. to get involved because he thought more American troops had to die because we went into Iraq.  He also compared al Qaeda and the people that were blowing up Americans over there to the Minutemen, to our founding fathers.  Do you call those two statements examples of aiding and abetting the enemy? 

BURKMAN:  No. 

I think they are close to the line, but I think there are a series of other statements that he made at the film festival and in other places where he is encouraging, he is very subtly encouraging the Baathists to rise up.  And the question I have for, Joe, is, how many lives have been lost because of this, how many lives? 

And I will tell you something else that really gets me.  If the French

·         he wants to run all over France to Paris and to Cannes.  And the French want to applaud him as some kind of hero.  If someone, God forbid, goes into Paris and knocks over the Eiffel Tower or knocks over the Elysee Palace, who will defend the French?  I think there‘s still this expectation that we are going to come and rescue them.

SCARBOROUGH:  You know who will, Jack?  You know who will?  The United States of America will. 

BURKMAN:  The United States, because we‘re who we are.

SCARBOROUGH:  We will and should do it because of who we are. 

Flavia, Hezbollah is out now there promoting this film.  What does that say about Michael Moore and “Fahrenheit 9/11”? 

COLGAN:  Joe, I want to get back to what Jack was saying just for a moment, because I think that Michael Moore should come on your show.  And here‘s why. 

You may be a Republican, but I know there‘s a moniker that you hold more closely than that.  And that is being an American. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Exactly. 

COLGAN:  And I have been very happy that you have not succumbed to this juvenile and sophomoric Republican attack that anyone who criticizes the American government or seeks to redefine policy is somehow unpatriotic. 

BURKMAN:  Flavia, that‘s not it.  He‘s trying to demoralize our forces in the field. 

(CROSSTALK)

COLGAN:  And censorship. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  All right, I will tell you what.

COLGAN:  Censorship is not the American way.

SCARBOROUGH:  Flavia, Jack, as always, we appreciate you being here. 

And you are exactly right, Flavia.  Censorship is not the American way. 

Michael Moore, don‘t censor yourself anymore.  Come on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  We will have a good time.  We will listen to Grand Funk Railroad, buddy, me and you. 

(LAUGHTER)

SCARBOROUGH:  We will rock out and talk about the future of America. 

Now, since Michael Moore has said he will debate facts of “Fahrenheit 9/11” with conservatives any time, anywhere, again, we want him to come to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY this week.  He is welcome to join us to promote the film.  And we are waiting to hear back. 

Michael, give us a call. 

Coming up next in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, the 9/11 Commission issued its report last week.  And newspaper headlines across the country screamed that there was no link between Iraq and al Qaeda, but, at the same time, some newspapers actually ignored new evidence that one top officer in Saddam‘s Fedayeen was actually an al Qaeda operative.  We‘ll be talking about media bias next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Were Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden working together to destroy the United States or were they just two murderous thugs who happened to share the same goal? 

Well, if you read last week‘s headlines, you would think there was no relationship between the two.  This is what “The New York Times” said.  “The New York Times” actually said that the panel, talking about the 9/11 panel, found no al Qaeda-Iraq tie.  Well, that‘s actually not what the panel found. 

Now let‘s move on to “The Chicago Tribune.”  “The Chicago Tribune” was actually of the papers that we looked at the most accurate.  They said no Iraq link to 9/11.  Notice they didn‘t say in the headline that there was no al Qaeda-Iraq link.  They just said, for the 9/11 attacks, there was no link, actually pretty dead on by “The Tribune.”

Now let‘s move on to “The L.A.”—or, actually, “The USA Today.”  “USA Today,” again, misrepresents the situation.  That is what upset Dick Cheney so much earlier this week, where they said no Iraq-al Qaeda link found. 

Also, if you look there, they are talking about poor Tiger.  Can Tiger get his groove back?  The answer, no, it didn‘t work out for him, like it‘s not working out for my Telestrator. 

And then we go to “The L.A. Times,” same story, different newspaper.  Look at this, no signs of Iraq-al Qaeda ties found.  Now, that is simply not true.  Yet, despite all these screaming headlines, there‘s much more to the story, and there‘s plenty of evidence out there that suggests a connection between al Qaeda and Saddam‘s regime.  So why is the press so eager to say otherwise? 

With me now, we have got Bob Kohn.  He‘s the author of “Journalistic Fraud.”  And we also have Dr. Bob Jensen.  He‘s a professor at the University of Texas School of Journalism. 

Bob Kohn.

BOB KOHN, AUTHOR, “JOURNALISTIC FRAUD”:  Yes. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Your book is about how “The New York Times” covers the news.  Why would they run this headline along an editorial declaring that there were never any ties between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden, despite the fact that the 9/11 Commission leader and his co-chair both say that‘s not true? 

KOHN:  Well, as you know, “The New York Times” has issued a fatwa against President Bush.  And they‘re basically running President John Kerry‘s campaign here. 

What “The Times” did was outrageous.  But the real outrage is in their failure to correct the story.  They have misinformed the public here.  And look what they did.  Talk about a double standard.  You know, with the weapons of mass destruction coverage that they had and how they chastised Judith Miller, and they basically went out and apologized to the public. 

Well, they owe, “The New York Times” owes President Bush and Dick Cheney an apology here.  They owe a four-column front-page headline that undoes the damage they did to the president and Dick Cheney here. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Yes, let me ask you this question, Bob.  You have obviously—you have followed “The New York Times” for a while.  I was hopeful when Bill Keller took over, because I actually saw change in “The New York Times” coverage.  I saw less editorializing on the front page.  I was still concerned about the editorial page, but, hey, that‘s what editorial pages are for. 

But it seems, over the past two to three months, there‘s been this disturbing trend.  And it does almost look like they are getting heated up by this presidential campaign and they are actually aggressively on the front page trying to hurt George W. Bush. 

KOHN:  Right. 

With the Jayson Blair scandal, they were reeling from that.  And “The New York Times” kind of settled down its coverage.  Well, Bill Keller took over.  They hired an ombudsman.  Even after the ombudsman was hired in December and January, early this year, “The Times” seemed to be getting better.  But it‘s election time.  And it‘s not only the editorial page.  It‘s the front page. 

And they are manipulating who they‘re—they spiked—the Afghani president, Karzai, was in Washington last week and gave a speech to the joint session of Congress.  And not one word of that speech or even recognition that it occurred appeared in “The New York Times.” 

SCARBOROUGH:  It‘s remarkable.  It really is remarkable, because this is, as you know, you have criticized “The Times.”  I have criticized “The Times.”

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  I don‘t care what anybody says.  It is still the most important paper in America. 

KOHN:  They set the agenda for all the other newspapers and all the other organizations. 

SCARBOROUGH:  They do. 

KOHN:  So, when the other papers read that “The New York Times” tomorrow is going to have on its front page that panel finds no al Qaeda-Iraq ties, they all follow suit.  Now, the public is grossly misinformed.  So what we need to have from “The New York Times” now is for them to correct the misinformation that they themselves created with the other parts of the media. 

SCARBOROUGH:  And I certainly hope that it happens. 

I want to read the one line from a 9/11 Commission report that caused all this commotion.  In part of a 12-page report, the commission staff wrote this: “We have no credible evidence that Iraq and al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States.”

And while “The New York Times” editorial pages were quick to conclude there were never any ties between Saddam and Osama, William Safire corrected his own paper today.  And he wrote this: “As reporters noted below the headlines, it was an interim report of the commission‘s runaway staff.  After Vice President Dick Cheney‘s objected, the staff‘s sweeping conclusion was soon disavowed by both commission chairman Tom Kean and vice chairman Lee Hamilton.”

Professor Jensen, the media‘s reporting that there were never any Iraq-al Qaeda ties appear to be false.  Should they apologize? 

DR. BOB JENSEN, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS:  Well, first of all, that‘s not an accurate assessment of the situation.  There were no substantive ties, no collaborative ties between al Qaeda and the regime of Saddam Hussein.  That‘s clear. 

SCARBOROUGH:  What do you call substantive? 

JENSEN:  Substantive meaning cooperation.  Were there meetings?  There might have been a meeting here or there.

But you are trying to spin, not surprisingly, in defending the Bush administration, because, of course, the tie between, the alleged tie between al Qaeda and Iraq was one of the two linchpins of the attack.  And on this, I actually agree with you, that “The New York Times” should apologize, but not for the trivial matters you are talking about.  They should apologize because, during the run-up to the Iraq war, when “The New York Times” and all of the major media in the United States should have been doing critical, skeptical reporting about the bogus claims that the Bush administration made, then that‘s when it mattered. 

(CROSSTALK)

JENSEN:  Let me finish my comment. 

SCARBOROUGH:  Did you not read “The New York Times” for a year leading into the war? 

JENSEN:  I did. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  They were the most hyper-critical newspaper in the country. 

JENSEN:  Well, then I think, you know, we must live on different planets.  And I‘m not know what you were reading. 

SCARBOROUGH:  No, I read “The New York Times” every day.  I guess we

were just reading different newspapers  

(CROSSTALK)

JENSEN:  Let me finish a thought. 

“The New York Times” in that sense was no different than the rest of the major U.S. news media.  In the run-up to the Iraq war, when, all over the place, in critical reports about the Bush administration claims about weapons of mass destruction and these bogus ties between al Qaeda and Iraq, when those were being discussed openly all around the world, it was the U.S. public that didn‘t have access to that. 

The United States public hasn‘t been deceived by “The New York Times” in the sense you are talking about.  They were deceived by “The New York Times” and all of the major media, especially the television media.  That‘s why half of the people in public opinion polls in the U.S. still believe there are ties that didn‘t exist. 

(CROSSTALK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Gentlemen, unfortunately, we are out of time. 

I would love for this to go on, but we are running up to the end of the show.  I will invite both of you back.  I want to talk about this some more.

And I want to read for you all what Stephen Hayes wrote in “The Weekly Standard.”  He said: “No fewer than six top Clinton administration officials on the record cited the Iraq connection to justify its strikes in response to the al Qaeda attacks on the U.S. embassies.”

There‘s so much evidence out there.  There‘s a Pentagon report that was leaked, over 50 connections.  It just—it goes on and on and on.  But I want to get Dr. Jensen back, also Bob Kohn.  We want to continue debating this.

We‘ll be right back in just a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Mom, don‘t go out tomorrow.  It‘s not going to be safe.  Bill Clinton‘s book goes on sale in the morning.  We are going to be talking about that with Clinton biographer David Maraniss, former Clinton press secretary Dee Dee Myers, and Harry Thomason, who has produced a pro-Clinton documentary that just came out last week. 

You‘re not going to want to miss that show.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCARBOROUGH:  Well, President Clinton‘s nearly 1,000-page memoir is generating lots of buzz.

But residents of SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY may be wondering how other presidential memoirs were received in their time.  Historians generally agree that Ulysses S. Grant produced one of the best memoirs 100 years ago and earned almost half a million dollars.  And he was helped by a ghostwriter, Samuel Clemens, otherwise, of course, known as Mark Twain. 

Now, President Reagan joked about ghostwriters working on his memoir, saying: “I hear it‘s a terrific book.  One of these days, I am going to read it myself.”  The guy you‘re looking at is Richard Nixon.  That‘s President Reagan, who made the joke. 

Now we‘re going to show you Nixon, because historians gave his memoirs a one-word indictment, long.  Abe Lincoln was one of our greatest presidents, but he was assassinated before he could produce a memoir.  And one historian writes, the memoirs of President Johnson, Ford and Carter had only flashes of interest and should mostly be read for anecdotes. 

Now, to find out more about President Clinton‘s memoir, log on to MSNBC.com.  We don‘t have all 950 pages, but we‘ve got a few sound bites out of there. 

Hey, listen, thanks for joining SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY tonight.  We will see you tomorrow night. 

And if there are any Michael Moore sightings in your neck of the woods, as we say in Northwest Florida, tell him to come on SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.  We don‘t bite.  Hard.

END   

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